With This Ring Finger, I Thee Ride Better

Closing the ring finger on the reins is like completing an electrical circuit.

Closing the ring finger on the reins is like completing an electrical circuit.

In her book 40 5-MINUTE JUMPING FIXES, expert riding instructor Wendy Murdoch explains the “Ring Finger Connection” when you hold the reins while riding. According to Murdoch, when you hold the reins and activate your thumb and index finger, there is a pinching action. This action causes the front of your body to flex forward; you round your shoulders and drop your chest. Plus, you are vulnerable to being pulled out of the saddle due to the tension created in your biceps and shoulders.

The muscles attached to the ring finger, however, connect closer to the point of the elbow, so when they activate, they in turn initiate a line along the back of the arm rather than the front. Using the ring finger, you can resist a a pull from your horse with your triceps rather than your biceps. You sit wide and open in the chest and allow the horse to pull you into rather than out of the saddle.

Closing your ring finger (or middle finger when your ring finger is too short to manage the reins) on the reins is like completing an electrical circuit that runs from your horse’s mouth through the rein to your hand, along the underside of your arm to your back, down to your seat (which deepens in the saddle), and cycles through the horse from back to front and to the mouth once again. An “open” hand, in contrast, does not complete the circuit; the horse can easily pull the rein from your hand.

 

Try this simple exercise from 40 5-MINUTE JUMPING FIXES to better understand the actions of your fingers on the reins:

1  Hold your right hand in riding position and pinch your right thumb and index finger together. Now, use the fingers of your left hand to feel how this pinching tightens the muscles on your right forearm. Pull on your pinched fingers with your left hand. Feel how you resist by tensing your biceps and chest. Notice the tendency to round your shoulders as you resist.

2  Now close your right middle and ring fingers firmly against the palm of your right hand and slowly “pulse” the pressure. Feel the lower part of your right forearm with your left hand. Notice how the muscles contract and relax.

3  Wrap your right ring finger around the index finger of your left hand, keeping all the other fingers slightly flexed. Pull against the ring finger with your left hand. Feel how you pull back with your elbow to resist rather than tensing your shoulders. Notice how your collarbones widen and your chest expands.

 

Now think how these minute movements translate through the reins to your horse, and how your hands affect your position and performance when you ride.

 

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

Wendy Murdoch’s 40 5-MINUTE JUMPING FIXES, as well as her bestselling first book and companion DVDs, are available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE TO SHOP NOW

TSB’s 2014 Horse Books & DVDs: A Quick Glimpse Back Before We Ride Forward

 

The winter sun rises over the TSB warehouse in Vermont.

The winter sun rises over the TSB warehouse in Vermont.

As we wrap another year in the Trafalgar Square Books offices here in Vermont, it feels good to pause and look back at the results of our hard work, as well as ponder the things we learned about horses and horsemanship over the last 12 months.

We take great pride in our authors and in the horse books and DVDs we have published and released over the years—now over 600 titles. Here, at a glance, are the new books and DVDs we added in 2014:

 

Click the image above to get a quick review of the TSB 2014 books and DVDs.

Click the image above to get a quick review of the TSB 2014 books and DVDs.

 

3-Minute Horsemanship

by Vanessa Bee (January)

The Riding Horse Repair Manual

by Doug Payne (March)

Games for Kids on Horseback

by Gabriele Karcher (April)

Centered Riding 2 Paperback Edition

by Sally Swift (April)

Good Horse, Bad Habits

by Heather Smith Thomas (April)

Dressage Solutions

by Arthur Kottas-Heldenberg (May)

The Riding Doctor

by Dr. Beth Glosten (June)

Building a Life Together—You and Your Horse

by Magali Delgado and Frederic Pignon (June)

Collective Remarks

by Anne Gribbons (July)

Creative Dressage Schooling

by Julia Kohl (September)

When Two Spines Align:Dressage Dynamics 

by Beth Baumert (September)

Kids Riding with Confidence

by Andrea and Markus Eschbach (October)

Success through Cavaletti-Training DVD 

by Ingrid Klimke (November)

5-Minute Fixes to Improve Your Riding DVD

by Wendy Murdoch (November)

5-Minute Jumping Fixes DVD

by Wendy Murdoch (November)

Beyond Horse Massage Wall Charts

by Jim Masterson (November)

The Art of Liberty Training for Horses

by Jonathan Field (December)

Rider+Horse=1

by Eckart Meyners, Hannes Muller, and Kerstin Niemann (December)

 

Trafalgar Square Books (www.HorseandRiderBooks.com) is the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs. CLICK HERE to visit our online storefront or DOWNLOAD OUR NEWEST CATALOG.

 

Have a wonderful, safe, joy-filled New Year!

–The TSB Staff, North Pomfret, Vermont

Happy Holidays! Watch the TSB Horses Enjoy Their First Snow in Our Video Short Story

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Few out there would deny delighting in the season’s first snowfall. Horses, too, find it an excuse to be young again and enjoy a roll, a buck, a frolic.

We wish all of you a joyful holiday season and hope you, like our horses, get a chance to kick up your heels.

Click the image below to see the TSB herd reveling in Vermont’s first snow.

Click the image above to watch our First Snow Short Story.

Click the image above to watch our First Snow Short Story.

 

Be Merry,

The TSB Staff, North Pomfret, Vermont

“Santa, Please Bring Me a Pony”—6 Ponies-for-Presents Videos from TSB

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Who among us doesn’t remember the ache of wanting, wishing, hoping, even believing that THIS year would be the year that Santa persuaded a pony to wait quietly and patiently under the tree until Christmas morning? It is not a wish unique to one girl or boy, or to one particular state or country. The truth is, there are far more pony dreams out there than Santa’s (probably) palomino-centric breeding facility can fulfill.

If it’s been a while since you remembered the longing you once felt—back before hiking through the snow each morning to feed became more of a chore than a celebration—or if you can’t even remember life before horses…or perhaps if you long ago shelved riding fantasies alongside your worn copies of National Velvet and Thunderhead, take a moment to share in these real-life, pony presents. I promise, it will all come right back to you.

At Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, we might not be able to fill holiday orders for ponies, but we can help prepare horse lovers of all ages, interests, and experience levels for the horse of their dreams, whenever and wherever he finally appears.

Visit our online store now to browse our fantastic selection of horse books and DVDs. You can still get FREE shipping in the US in time for Christmas…and we promise our products sit very quietly and patiently under the tree.

 

The Pony with the Middle Name

 

2  The Girl Who Can’t Believe It

 

3  The Dance and the Tears

 

Roxy

 

5  Oh My Gosh, It’s a Pony!

 

6  And We’ll Leave You with…Hannah’s Surprise

 

 

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE TSB ONLINE BOOKSTORE NOW

Sun, Fun, and Horsemanship–Get Your Tickets Now for the Three Amigos Training Symposium

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Only a few miles from the beach in Florida is not a bad place to be in January.

Throw in a unique opportunity to learn from and spend time with three top trainers and Road to the Horse alumni as they work with young and developing riding prospects, and you’ve got yourself a really good time!

Join your fellow sun-, fun-, and horselovers at the spacious and well-appointed Pioneer Trail Reserve in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, January 2-4, 2015. Host and TSB author Sean Patrick (2014 and 2015 RTTH Wild Card Contestant) welcomes Jim Anderson, reigning champion and overall winner of the 2014 RTTH competition, and Mary Kitzmiller, winner of over $55,000 in the Extreme Mustang Makeover events and the only woman to have been chosen to compete at the Road to the Horse’s Wild Card Competition in both 2014 and 2015, to his fabulous facility.

 

Pioneer Trail Reserve is a spacious and well-appointed equestrian facility, with a large covered arena and luxurious clubhouse.

Pioneer Trail Reserve is a spacious and well-appointed equestrian facility, with a large covered arena and luxurious clubhouse.

 

Sean, Jim, and Mary will provide in-depth instruction, explanations of their techniques, and up-close-and-personal insight over the course of 18 teaching sessions, featuring colt-starting, preliminary under-saddle work, and more advanced training and maneuvers. Symposium attendees are provided refreshments and a fully catered lunch each day at no additional cost. In addition, separate tickets are available for a VIP dinner on Saturday night, where guests can relax, interact with each other and all three clinicians, and enjoy live music and delicious meal in a beautiful ranch setting.

We caught up with Sean last week and asked him to tell us a little about the event and how it was conceived:

 

TSB: How did you, Mary, and Jim all meet?

Sean: At Road to the Horse 2014, there were eight of us selected to be competitors in the new “Wild Card” part of the event. It was such a nice group of individuals, we all quickly became friends. I’m originally from Canada, Jim is Canadian, and Mary desperately wishes she was, so we had that in common!

 

TSB: When did you conceive of the idea to hold the symposium? How did you come up with the name Three Amigos?

Sean: If I was to design the itinerary of a perfect 3-day clinic, this is it.  I knew Jim was coming down to visit, and Mary had just been to our place for a clinic, so I thought about bringing us all back to the same location and offering a fun, in-depth look at how we each teach horses. I have three colts all needing a start right at that time (January), and this experience will be a wonderful way to get them going. In addition, we all have a gelding from the same ranch (the Four Sixes) and the same group (chosen for last year’s RTTH), so our horses Smokey, Guthrie, and Jack all know each other well.  There will be three sets of “Three Amigos”!

 

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TSB: What does each clinician bring to the table that is unique and/or different?

Sean: Jim is so well schooled by many top horsemen. He’s quite humble, so you won’t always hear about that part. His ability to handle and teach horses is first-class. His 2014 Road to the Horse world championship is proof of his abilities.

Mary has very different experiences than Jim and me. She has also ridden with top horsemen, but has spent time with a lot of tough horses and built her program around that. She’s a student of the bridle horse, gifted in gentling horses, amazing at teaching tricks, and an excellent cow-horse hand.

Then there’s me—I’m just along for the ride!

[Ed. note: Sean’s just being modest…he’s the author of the bestselling book THE MODERN HORSEMAN’S COUNTDOWN TO BROKE and the DVD set by the same name. Check them out and see what’s so special about this guy!]

 

TSB: Tell us a little bit about how symposium attendees will spend their day, and what you feel they will take away that they can apply to their own evolution as horsemen/women.

Sean: The round pen will be set up for the benefit of the three youngsters. Each trainer will spend one hour with each colt, on each day. Since we have three different horses, and trainers, the development of each style with each colt will be different. This is ideal for seeing how we all approach our plan. In the afternoon, topic-based teaching sessions will begin with the three-year-old geldings. The attendees are able to sit closely on the bleachers, ask questions, chat with trainers as they work, mingle with other industry experts, and spend time by the fire with them in the evenings. There is also a VIP dinner with all the trainers on Saturday night. We are encouraging a lot of crowd interaction and know the pace will move quickly and keep people learning and entertained.

 

TSB: If you could choose three words to describe the Three Amigos Symposium, what three words would you choose?

Sean: Intimate, enlightening, engaging.

 

TSB: Are all of you returning to RTTH in 2015?

Sean: Jim won the 2014 Wild Card event and then the championship title. He was invited to come back in 2015 to defend his title.  So he will be at 2015 Road to the Horse against Chris Cox and this year’s Wild Card winner.

Mary was a 2014 Wild Card contestant and was invited back for 2015.  I was also a 2014 Wild Card contestant, and like Mary, invited back to compete again.

So all three of us are heading back to RTTH in one way or another…it’ll be hopefully Mary or I who compete against Jim in the finals!

 

Don’t miss your chance to walk the beach in your boots and start your New Year with new insight into horses, starting them, and taking them that next step! Tickets for the 2014 Three Amigos Symposium and VIP dinner are on sale now CLICK HERE.

 

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Airports near the New Smyrna Beach Pioneer Trail Reserve facility include Orlando (MCO) and Daytona Beach (DAB ). Hotel accommodations have been arranged nearby at the new “Hotel of Choice” Country Inn and Suites (with a special nightly “Three Amigos” rate of $69.00), and there are beachfront options for the family on the Atlantic’s beautiful New Smyrna Beach, as well! It is an easy drive to/from Daytona Beach, Disney World, Sea World, and many other major Florida attractions, so it’s no problem to make this a family “post-holiday” vacation, while you slip away each day to work with and witness the best in the horse industry!

 

A portion of the Three Amigos Symposium proceeds will be proudly donated to the “Hope Reins” Therapeutic Riding Program based in New Smyrna Beach at Marcody Ranch. For more information on the event or assistance with ticket sales, please contact the “Three Amigos” event coordinator at events@seanpatricktraining.com or 321-693-5551. Media passes are available.

 

Sean Patrick’s THE MODERN HORSEMAN’S COUNTDOWN TO BROKE book and the DVD SET are available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE TO SHOP NOW

 

 

A Thank You Gift to All Trafalgar Square Books Blog Readers!

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As we cross into the land of “hundreds of thousands” of faithful blog readers, TSB just wants to say thank you! We hope your visits to the TSB blog provide you great riding, training, and horse-care tips, as well as information about exciting equine events around the world, fun glimpses behind-the-barn-doors in the lives of top riders and horse experts, and up-close-and-personal interviews and features with our amazingly diverse, talented, and experienced authors.

Trafalgar Square Books and our online storefront www.HorseandRiderBooks.com remains devoted to providing horse lovers everywhere with the very best in riding and horsemanship education. As a thank you for visiting us as you further your equestrian skills and knowledge, please use this coupon on your next book or DVD purchase:

 TSB Warehouse Coupon

 

The Modern Horseman’s Do’s and Don’t’s of Tying

SeanPwithbooks

As you head back to work after (we hope!) a weekend of riding and playing with your horses, Sean Patrick, author of THE MODERN HORSEMAN’S COUNTDOWN TO BROKE gives us a few tips to get us through the lessons and training sessions we may try fit in between appointments, pick ups, drop offs, and office hours. Here’s his quick-hit list to remind us how to keep our horses safe when tying them, whether in the barn aisle, to the trailer, or out and about in the week ahead.

 

The Do’s and Don’t’s of Tying

DO:

  • Use an unbreakable halter, such as one made of strong rope.
  • Keep your horse in his normal environment and “comfort zone” for the first few dozen tying sessions.
  • Groom and spend time with your horse while he is tied, especially a green horse or one that is a “tying novice.”
  • Tie your horse high and short, and always use a quick-release knot.
  • Expect your horse to tie.
  • Ask him to stand tied often.

 

DON’T:

  • Use a clasp or buckle on your lead rope that could break.
  • Tie to something weak, such as an “O”-ring on a barn wall or fence post.
  • “Help” by untying your horse if you feel he is nervous or lonely when tied.
  • Expect him to tie quietly without proper preparation.
  • Tie where he could catch a leg or step in something unsafe.
  • Ignore the weather and allow him to get chilled or overheated.
  • Leave your green horse unattended.
  • Snub (tie where there is no slack in the lead line).

 

Work hard this week. Be safe in your travels and when handling and riding your horse. Count the hours until the next time you can walk in the barn, call your horse’s name, and swing up into the saddle.

 

THE MODERN HORSEMAN’S COUNTDOWN TO BROKE by Sean Patrick is available as a BOOK and as an accompanying 4-DVD SET.

CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE NOW

 

“The Tragic Tale of the Railway Worker and the Refrigerator Car,” and How It Can Actually Improve How You Work with Your Horse

Click image to find out about the books and DVDs from Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling.

Click image to find out about the books and DVDs from Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling.

 

In TSB author Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling’s seminal book DANCING WITH HORSES (recently re-released in paperback), he tells the tragic tale of a railway worker who was fixing a refrigerator car late one Friday afternoon. His fellow workers, unaware that he toiled away within the car, closed the door and locked it, trapping the poor man in what he thought was a bitter cold prison for the duration of the weekend. On Monday morning, they found him, frozen to death in a corner of the car.

Strangely, this particular refrigerator car was not functioning, and the weekend had been a lovely, sunny one—and yet, the man had frozen to death. How? As the story goes, he convinced himself that he was locked in and facing certain death, and the idea—the power of his mind—led to his demise.

“What we learn from this story,” writes Klaus in DANCING WITH HORSES, “is what a tremendous power our ideas, our conceptions of things, have over us. The laws of reality take a back seat to the power of our minds.”

 

Click image to order Dancing with Horses.

Click image to order Dancing with Horses.

 

Klaus explains that this power can work in positive ways, as we often learn through the techniques of visualization promoted by sport psychologists (such as TSB author Daniel Stewart), but as demonstrated in the “Tragic Tale of the Railway Worker and the Refrigerator Car,” in negative ways, as well.

“If I say to myself three times, ‘I will not be able to do that,’ then I will not be able to do whatever ‘that’ is,’ even if it is something I could otherwise accomplish quite easily,” he writes. “A small child, who trips two or three times, might be called a clumsy oaf by his father…his father’s words are very formative because they create in the boy’s mind the idea: ‘I’m a klutz, a clumsy oaf.’ If it happens a few more times, this boy, perhaps a skillful, talented young lad, will indeed become a clumsy oaf. The father’s words became a concept, an idea of the boy’s and their effect is as tragic as the idea held by the railway worker.”

Klaus says that what the father should do with his son is look past the boy’s tripping—until he sees the boy tread the same path without tripping. Then the father should say, “Hey! You did that really well!”

And we need to do the same thing with our horses: We need to overlook many of the “errors” they make and be ready to praise them for the good things they do. This empowers the positive mindset, rather than the negative one. In addition, when we discipline ourselves to see the positive and overlook the rest, our interactions with others—whether with our children or our horses—are friendlier, more confident, and full of calm certainty.

“Working with a horse,” says Klaus, “means first of all working on oneself.”

 

Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling’s bestselling books DANCING WITH HORSES and WHAT HORSES REVEAL, and his DVDs DANCING WITH HORSES and COMING TOGETHER, are available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE TO SHOP NOW

 

Check out this fabulous video that illustrates Klaus’ philosophy as he works with a stallion at liberty:

Equestrian Nation Premieres New Three-Part Series About Buck Brannaman on RFD-TV

Watch Buck Brannaman on RFD-TV for the first time ever!

Watch Buck Brannaman on RFD-TV for the first time ever!

 

TSB is excited to catch the new three-part series about Buck Brannaman on Equestrian Nation, the popular news-magazine-style show, featuring stories about everything horse-related, from different breeds, horsemen, and riding disciplines, to veterinary information, and training and management tips. Equestrian Nation’s exclusive interview will be Buck’s first ever appearance on RFD-TV–the nation’s first 24-hour television network dedicated to serving the needs and interests of rural America with programming focused on agriculture, equine-related topics, and the rural lifestyle, along with traditional country music and entertainment.

 

 

“The three part series is about getting to know who influenced Buck and his opinions on horses and life,” says Dan Weyand, Executive Producer of Equestrian Nation. “This is an in-depth interview where you really get to know him personally. Our production crew traveled to his ranch in Sheridan, Wyoming. We then caught up with him at a clinic in Colorado to finish filming the series.”

Part One of Equestrian Nation’s Buck Brannaman series premiers Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. PDT, with Parts Two and Three airing at the same time April 9 and April 16. Viewers can also watch repeats of each episode following the premiere: Check the RFD-TV schedule for when Equestrian Nation is on in your time zone.

 

You can learn the best of Buck’s horse wisdom shared at seven different clinic locations in the acclaimed 7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN DVD series, available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information about the 7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN DVD series.

CLICK HERE to order the DVDs now.

 

CLICK THE IMAGE to find out more about Buck Brannaman DVDs.

CLICK THE IMAGE to find out more about Buck Brannaman DVDs.

 

 

 

 

Florida’s Favorite Equestrian Magazine Features Cindy Meehl and 7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN in April Issue

Check out the feature about Cindy Meehl and 7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN in the April issue of Sidelines Magazine

Check out the feature about Cindy Meehl and 7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN in the April issue of Sidelines Magazine

 

 

Don’t miss “Follow Your Heart, Wherever It Leads,” the feature story in the April issue of the popular Wellington-based equestrian magazine Sidelines. Writer Kayla Starnes details the story behind how BUCK the award-winning documentary came to be made, and how 7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN, the seven-disc instructional series, was the follow-up director Cindy Meehl knew had to be made.

“This, to me, is the way training should be done,” Cindy says about 7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN in the article. “What I put in 7 CLINICS, I believe, will astound people with the results they will get. I don’t care what type of riding you do, Buck’s tools can take you much farther than you ever dreamed.”

Pick up a copy of the April issue!

Pick up a copy of the April issue!

Cindy also shares a little about her current projects, including the forthcoming documentaries Unbranded (about four young men riding mustangs from Mexico to Canada) and Dogs on the Inside (about stray dogs that are retrained for adoption by inmates). Pick up your copy of Sidelines (you can order the issue online by CLICKING HERE) for the scoop.

 

7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN and BUCK the documentary are available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

 

 

7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN is the winner of two Telly Awards! Click the image above to find out more about these excellent instructional DVDs.

7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN is the winner of two Telly Awards! Click the image above to find out more about these excellent instructional DVDs.

 

 

And did you know? Kayla Starnes, writer of the Sidelines feature about Cindy Meehl and her film projects, is the author of TEAM ROPING 101,which is on sale now!